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Latest Posts

  • House Leadership’s Support for Sage Grouse Provision Frustrates Policy Bill Negotiations

    House Leadership’s Support for Sage Grouse Provision Frustrates Policy Bill Negotiations

    The greater sage grouse, a black and brown grassland bird whose habitat encompasses parts of 11 western states, has taken on an oversized role in House-Senate negotiations over a conference agreement for the fiscal 2017 defense authorization bill. The House’s Republican leadership is insisting the compromise bill retain language from the House version barring the sage grouse from being placed on the endangered species list through 2025 even though the issue is only loosely connected to the use of military training grounds. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he would not allow the final version of the annual defense policy to be considered on the chamber floor without that provision, in a bid to protect energy, mining and ranching interests, reports Defense News …

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  • More Marines Would Be Optimal, Review Finds

    More Marines Would Be Optimal, Review Finds

    A new force structure assessment has concluded that the Marine Corps ideally could grow by 8,000 troops, but the service still plans on operating with an end strength of 182,000 Marines. “The path we’re on is to go to 182,000 Marines,” Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told Military.com. “That’s what we’re going to be funded for; that’s what we’re allowed to do by Congress. But in a perfect world … we came up with about 190,000; that is the optimized force,” Walsh said. The increase would help the service keep up with a high pace of operations, and the need to expand its cyber and technological capabilities …

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  • Radiation Concerns to Slow Property Transfer at Hunters Point

    Radiation Concerns to Slow Property Transfer at Hunters Point

    The Navy has agreed to suspend any further transfers of property at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco due to several investigations into the falsification of data by its cleanup contractor. In 2014, Tetra Tech admitted to submitting false samples in an apparent effort to show the soil was not radioactive. Last week, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen told U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy that the city “will not accept the transfer of any land until federal and state regulators are satisfied that the land is clean and safe” and the city’s health department validates the decision …

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  • County, Scott AFB Renew Airport’s Joint-Use Agreement

    County, Scott AFB Renew Airport’s Joint-Use Agreement

    The St. Clair County Board this week approved a new 25-year joint-use agreement for the airport at Scott Air Force Base in southwestern Illinois. One change from the existing agreement is the threshold for when the Air Force needs to reimburse the county for using MidAmerica Airport’s runway. The previous agreement defined substantial use as 100 daily landings for three consecutive days. The new agreement changes the definition of substantial use to 300 landings or a gross cumulative weight of 5 million pounds of government aircraft landings in one month. If the Air Force reaches the threshold for substantial use of MidAmerica’s runway, the two parties can discuss appropriate compensation, said Airport Director Tim Cantwell …

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  • House Vote on Water Bill Provides Avenue to Break CR Impasse

    House Vote on Water Bill Provides Avenue to Break CR Impasse

    After helping to block two procedural votes Tuesday afternoon that would have advanced a spending package needed to keep the government running on Oct. 1, Senate Democrats are waiting to see if Republicans will give in to their demands to extend assistance to Flint, Mich. Following the votes, Senate Republicans said they would consider stripping emergency flood relief for Louisiana and other states from the legislation to address Democrats’ concerns …

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  • Wright-Patterson AFB Weighs Options for Future of Historic Homes

    Officials at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base outside of Dayton, Ohio, held two public forums this week to gather input on the future of 89 historic brick homes that are among the Air Force’s last remaining government-owned housing. The homes in the Brick Quarters Housing District were built from 1934-1937 and are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Wright-Patt needs 30 homes for “key and essential” personnel — senior military and civilian leaders required to live on base. The installation’s portfolio of privatized housing does not meet the needs of key and essential personnel as those residences are not large enough or are located too far away from work locations …

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  • Federal Funding Uncertain for Health Studies of Water Contamination at Philadelphia-Area Bases

    Federal Funding Uncertain for Health Studies of Water Contamination at Philadelphia-Area Bases

    Federal health officials said they would support a program of blood testing and health monitoring for residents who rely on drinking water contaminated by the use of firefighting foams at two closed bases outside of Philadelphia, Sen. Robert Casey (D-Pa.) said last week. How the effort, estimated to cost $20 million to $30 million over five years, would be funded is still an open question, however. DOD has said federal law prohibits it from covering the cost. At a meeting involving officials from several federal agencies and lawmakers, representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said they would work with Congress to obtain funding …

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  • After 20 Years, Devens Approaches Workforce of 5,000

    After 20 Years, Devens Approaches Workforce of 5,000

    Employment at Devens, the 4,400-acre, mixed-use community in north-central Massachusetts that has taken shape since Fort Devens closed, has jumped 24 percent over the past two years due to growth in manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, and professional services. After two decades of redevelopment, total employment among businesses, government agencies and nonprofits at the reuse project managed by MassDevelopment now stands at 4,977, according to a new study by the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute. Private sector and nonprofit organizations had estimated combined sales of more than $1.4 billion in fiscal 2016 …

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